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a Norwegian or Icelandic poet of the ninth through 13th centuries. The poetry of the skalds has survived as fragments in the 13th-century Icelandic literary classics the Prose Edda and the sagas. Before being written down, Skaldic poetry existed in oral tradition. The poetry of about 250 skalds is known. The earliest skalds were Norwegians. The most famous skald was the Icelander Egill Skallagrímsson (tenth century).

The skalds composed eulogistic, derogatory, and occasional verse. Their poetry generally set down contemporary facts and hence is regarded as a reliable historical source. For mannered intricacy of form, skaldic poetry is without parallel in world literature. The meter is strict and complex and the language abounds in complicated periphrases (kennings) and poetic synonyms (heitis); phrases are intertwined with one another. Skaldic poetry is difficult to interpret.


Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning, 1A-2A (manuscript text); 1B-2B (corrected text with Danish translation). Edited by F. Jónsson. Copenhagen, 1908-15.


Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. “Proiskhozhdenie poezii skal’dov.” In Skandinavskii sbornik, fasc. 3. Tallinn, 1958.
De Vries, J. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte, 2nd ed., vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1964-67.


References in periodicals archive ?
Frequent 'Who's Who' paragraphs clarify the relationship between the gods and highlight significant poets or skalds.
The skalds, Lindow stresses, participated in the development of the cult of this important Saint, who is still recognized by tradition as the perpetual king of Norway.
The arrangement of named skalds is chronological; a small final section treats anonymous poetry and anonymous lausavisur.
The faces of Orkney: stones, skalds and saints: 128-37.
There is also a Christian/pagan opposition in the narrative itself: Snorri is a Christian who tells his story from a Christian perspective, but the verses that he uses as sources and quotes from to illustrate his narrative are presumably by pagan skalds.
The Icelandic landscape, the seasons, wildlife, rivers, glaciers, and streams of an ancient land, and the skalds and poets of the past, all figure importantly in Stigar.
45-56, and Formation of the Medieval West, passim, attempt to see performers described as scurri or mimi in the sources as professional performers of oral poetry on the line of the Scandinavian skalds, but in Notker (e.
It is a textbook on poetics intended to instruct young poets in the difficult meters of the early Icelandic skalds (court poets) and to provide for a Christian age an understanding of the mythological subjects treated or alluded to in early poetry.